Superintendent Minister of the Buckley and Deeside Circuit, Revd Rosemarie Clarke and preacher in training Ms Michele Jones visited all the churches of the Circuit on foot over two days, a distance of 31 miles. Praying in each church they also raised over £500 for Sport Relief.
The Wales and Cymru Synods were delighted to welcome Rev. Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber to Wales in the spring sunshine last week. We began with their coming to the meeting of Y Cyngor (in Shrewsbury!) on the Thursday after which Steve came down to South Wales to share in a meal hosted by the Tongan fellowship in Pontnewynydd and then to address the hundreds gathered in Blackwood for the Big Sing, while Jill visited places of historic interest in the Llanfyllin area. On Friday Jill travelled to Aberystwyth to renew contact with old friends from the time when her husband Peter was minister there in 1984-94 while Steve visited Mary Jones World in Bala and was able to hold a facsimile version of Mary Jones’ Bible. On Saturday we travelled to North Wales where Steve and Jill together addressed a gathering at St Paul’s, Abergele, before Jill returned home to lead a special service at Englesea Brook commemorating the centenary of the recognition of Conscious objection to serving in the armed forces. Steve continued on to visit St Winifred’s Well in Holywell and then shared in a Circuit tea at Mold, before leading worship on Sunday morning at St John’s Llandudno (and then flying out to the Isle of Mann to address a youth rally on the Sunday evening!)
It was an action packed visit shared across the 2 Synods – but one full of energy and encouragement, and there will be many people who will have had their photo taken with the President via ‘selfies’ taken on his tablet. We wish them both well for the remainder of their Presidential year – and note that a fuller account of their visits across the year can be found on their BlogSpot at http://www.methodist-presandvp.blogspot.co.uk/
Sunday Worship on 28th February will be coming from Gresford Methodist Church near Wrexham. The service is one of a series of services following the CTBI Lent course on ‘Pilgrimage’ and will be exploring the theme ‘Becoming Present’. It will be led by the Superintendent minister of the Wrexham circuit, Rev. Richard Sharples with the Synod Chair, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, as preacher and music from the Sirenian Singers. The service will be broadcast live on Radio 4 from 8.10am.
The notes for this week’s ‘Word in Time’ Bible Study (from 31st January – 6th February) have been prepared by the Synod Chair, Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley. They are taken mainly from Mark’s Gospel chapters 6 & 7 and follow the theme, ‘Jesus – Shepherd and Teacher.’
You can find the notes on the main Methodist Church website at:
Following the news of the job losses at Tata Steel announced on 18th January, Rev. Chris Gray, Superintendent of the Neath Port Talbot Circuit writes:
“The Neath Port Talbot Circuit consists of nine churches and has two congregations in Port Talbot. One, Taibach Wesley, is a small congregation who worship in the shadow of the steel works. The other, Sandfields, is a church serving a large estate originally built in the 1950’s and 60’s to house steel workers and their families. The members of both churches will continue to bear witness to the God who brings light and hope to all who turn to him. Although there is no formally constituted “Churches Together” in Port Talbot, local churches work together very well in a number of significant ways (foodbank, shopping centre nativity play, CAP and Police Liaison Committee, for example.) So please pray for them and for the wider community of Port Talbot.
The staff of the Neath Port Talbot Circuit, in consultation with Rev Rick Hayes, part-time chaplain to the Port Talbot Steel works, will now be part of a team of people willing to listen to those who need to talk with someone about their situation. As yet, no workers have been told that they have been selected for redundancy; but when that time comes there will be the need for listening ears, support and encouragement for those whose future is now so uncertain.”
We also anticipate there will be an article about this appearing in this week’s Methodist Recorder.
For information about the 2016 elections and how to engage in the election process, please click on the link below.
As I’m sure you are aware, Storm Desmond has caused immense disruption, with schools, hospital services and travel all being affected in addition to the thousands of homes that have been damaged and hundreds evacuated.
Many communities are gathering together to provide relief and assistance to the areas worst hit by the flooding, including Sandylands Methodist Church who have worked in conjunction with volunteers and local organisations to offer support.
For those of us who cannot give our practical support, however, there is still much we can do and I know a number of you have already asked how you can donate to the relief and clean-up work. The Revd Richard Teal, Cumbria District Chair, reminds us of the wonderful response that the Methodist people made in 2009 and says that “the devastation this time is worse than before”.
The Cumbria Community Foundation, which played a significant role last time, has set up a Cumbria 2015 Flood Appeal to raise funds to support the individuals and communities devastated by the flooding. Richard suggests that this would be the best conduit for donations and we are very happy to endorse that call.
More information, including full details of how to give, can be found here. Please pass on this information to your circuits, churches and members, as well as considering a one-off donation from your district. I am aware too that Cumbria is not the only part of the country that has been affected by the storms and we are mindful of all those who may be struggling to respond to other pressing priorities locally.
The Revd Richard Teal has asked that you join him in prayer for those affected by the flooding:
Creator God, we remember at this time all those whose homes and communities have been damaged by flooding in Cumbria.
In the name of Jesus we give thanks for the courage and dedication of the emergency services who have come to the help and rescue of all in need.
We celebrate the kindness of neighbours in caring for the most vulnerable.
Lastly, we ask in the power of your healing Spirit to rebuild not just the physical communities which are coping with many problems today but also to give us a sense of trust in your goodness through the kindnesses of one another, in Your Holy Name.
Thank you so much for supporting the people of Cumbria through prayer and action at this difficult time.
Head of Mission and Advocacy, Methodist Connexional Team
On Friday 27th November, Cardiff celebrated its eighth ‘Multi-ethnic’ Christmas, organised by the Synod Enabler, Culturally Diverse Congregations Rev. Irfan John at Trinity Centre.
Some 22 nations were represented by over 200 Christians who attended the event and shared their love for Christ and for each other. We shared in food and fellowship before taking part in a special service introducing carols from around the world in their own language, including Urdu, English, South Indian, Chinese, Korean, Shona, Amharic and of course Welsh. The service began with a prayer and greeting in Welsh, including a message from Rev. Nick Oborski. Superintendent of the Cardiff and Caerphilly Circuit.
The candle of peace was lit by Dr. Harryono Judodihardjo from Malaysia to remind us that the light of Christ brings peace to all. At a time of international tension, it was wonderful to share in such a cosmopolitan congregation and be offered a foretaste of the heavenly banquet prepared for all humankind. Many thanks to Irfan for organising it and to all his team for supporting him.
Once again the Synod Enabler Rev. Irfan John has been arranging a series of Christmas celebrations sharing the good news of Christ’s coming with music, food and fellowship from around the world. This has been taking place in Cardiff and Newport for a number of years – but this year was the first opportunity to host such an event at Brunswick Methodist Church in Swansea, with choirs and guests from China, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and Pakistan – as well as from Wales and England. Greetings were offered from Alan Thomas, Secretary for Swansea City of Sanctuary, and also a collection taken for a charity in Zimbabwe working with HIV orphans established by Rev. Siperire Mugadzweta, the minister at Brunswick. Below is a picture of Irfan singing with the Urdu Fellowship choir.